Good antivirus software is an invaluable tool for keeping your computer, your personal information, and the security of your friends and family safe from hackers, identity thieves, and spammers. The damage a single virus can do is astounding.
Today's viruses have the capability to do everything from sending your personal information like credit card numbers and bank accounts to identity thieves to turning your computer into a slave that will send out spam e-mail messages, attack websites, or do pretty much anything else the virus maker wants it to. And on top of that, viruses are programmed to seek out your contacts and try to infect them as well. Odds are good that if your computer gets infected, everybody in your contacts is going to be receiving an e-mail message or IM that looks to be from you and contains the same virus you got.
A good antivirus program will typically cost a bit, but will be nothing compared to the cost of losing your files and your identity. Below are the top ten best antivirus software companies around.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus is an antivirus program developed by Kaspersky Lab. It is designed to protect users from malware and is primarily designed for computers running Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, though a version for Linux is available for business consumers.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus features include real-time protection, detection and removal of viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, keyloggers malicious tools and auto-dialers, as well as detection and removal of rootkits. It also includes instantaneous automatic updates via the "Kaspersky Security Network" service.
Microsoft Windows users may download an Anti-Virus Rescue Disk that scans the host computer during booting inside an isolated Linux environment. In addition, Kaspersky Anti-Virus prevents itself from being disabled by malware without user permission via password access prompts upon disabling protection elements and changing internal settings. It also scans incoming instant messenger traffic, automatically disables links to known malware hosting sites while using Internet Explorer or Firefox and includes free Technical Support and free product upgrades within paid-subcription periods. Kaspersky Lab currently offers 1 year, 2 year and 3 year subscriptions.
2. Symantec (Norton)
Norton AntiVirus, developed and distributed by Symantec Corporation, provides malware prevention and removal during a subscription period. It uses signatures and heuristics to identify viruses. Other features include e-mail spam filtering and phishing protection.
Symantec distributes the product as a download, a box copy, and as OEM software. Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security, a related product, held a 61% US retail market share for security suites as of the first half of 2007. Competitors, in terms of market share in this study, include antivirus products from CA, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky Lab.
Norton AntiVirus runs on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Version 126.96.36.199 is the latest Windows build. Windows 7 support is in development for versions 2006 through 2008. Version 2009 has Windows 7 supported update already. Version 2010 natively supports Windows 7, without needing an update. Version 11.1.1 is the latest Mac build.
AVG is a family of anti-virus and Internet security software for the Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and FreeBSD computing platforms, developed by AVG Technologies, a privately held Czech company formerly known as Grisoft.
ESET is an IT security company head-quartered in Bratislava, Slovakia that was founded in 1992 by the merger of two private companies. The company was awarded as the most successful Slovak company in 2008, 2009 and 2010. ESET is privately held and has branch offices in San Diego, California; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Prague, Czech Republic, and Kraków, Poland as well as distributors in over 180 countries.
In December 2010, the company announced the appointment of Richard Marko as Global CEO, Milan Masaryk as CFO, Pavol Luka as CTO, Juraj Malcho as Chief Research Officer, Ignacio Sbampato as director of global sales and marketing, and Andrew Lee as the CEO of its North American branch. ESET's founders remain on as the company's board.
ESET's first product was NOD, an antivirus software for computers running MS-DOS. In 1998, ESET introduced NOD32 1.0 for Microsoft Windows, with version 2.0 following in 2003. The last supported build of the 2.x codebase is 2.70.39, released in November 2006 to add support for Microsoft Windows Vista. In January 2010, ESET announced they would cease selling or providing downloads of NOD32 2.x in February 2010 and no longer provide signature updates or support after February 2012.
Avast! is an antivirus computer program developed by AVAST Software a.s. (formerly known as ALWIL Software a.s.), a company based in Prague, Czech Republic. It was first released in 1988. Avast! is based on a central scanning engine that is certified by ICSA Labs and West Coast Lab's Checkmark process and incorporates anti-spyware technology, also certified by West Coast Lab's Checkmark process, as well as anti-rootkit and self-protection capabilities. It is a multiple recipient of the Virus Bulletin VB100 Award for its detection of 100% of "in-the-wild" viruses, and is a past winner of the Secure Computing Readers' Trust Award. The name Avast is derived from "Anti-Virus – Advanced Set". Its trademarked name is styled in all lower-case, and includes an exclamation mark.
Avast! Free Antivirus is the freeware version of the Avast! antivirus software available to Microsoft Windows and Linux users, while Avast! Pro Antivirus is offered to businesses and users who want additional features. Priority updates are delivered automatically using PUSH update technology in Avast! Pro Antivirus. Avast! Pro Antivirus also has a command line scanner and a script blocker; however, in version 6, the script blocker is available to users of the free version.
McAfee, Inc. is a computer security company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, USA. It markets software and services to home users, businesses and the public sector. On August 19, 2010, electronics company Intel agreed to purchase McAfee for $7.68 billion (£5 billion). The acquisition closed on February 28th 2011.
Avira GmbH is a German antivirus software company. When founded, the company was called "H+BEDV Datentechnik GmbH". Its antivirus applications are based on the AntiVir scan engine also known as "Luke Filewalker" (referring to Luke Skywalker), first launched in 1988. For aesthetic reasons, the name was changed to Avira. Avira's engine has been licensed to Ashampoo, Ad-Aware, and Webroot WebWasher. Avira is one of the most widely used antivirus programs in the world, with 100 million users worldwide As of September 2009. The company supports the Auerbach Stiftung, a foundation created by the company's founder and CEO, Tjark Auerbach. It supports charitable, social, cultural, and science projects.